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Moves to bolster tug cover attacked

Coastal communities in the west of Scotland have branded as unfair moves to bolster emergency tug cover around the northern isles but nowhere else.

While Orkney and Shetland will have two emergency tugs in the event of a pollution crisis, none will be stationed on the west. The Western Isles Council says it is nonsensical and is putting lives and the environment at risk.

Two tugs, or Emergency Towing Vessels (ETVs), were introduced on the recommendation of Lord Donaldson's report into that incident. One was based in Lewis and one in Shetland.

But the Government moved to end the publicly funded contracts by the end of 2011, before agreeing an extension until last March.

Then, in June, ministers agreed to reintroduce a single Government-funded ETV until at least 2015 to be based primarily in Orkney.

The Government had also been trying to agree a deal with UK Oil and Gas to provide a vessel since 2011, which it achieved yesterday.

It allows HM Coastguard to call on a BP-chartered vessel to provide support in the event of an incident.

But confirmation that the tug would still be stationed in and around Kirkwall on Orkney, inflamed opinion on the west.

Contextual targeting label: 
Local government

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